Early Church Fathers
1 De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis. Gennadius's work is to be found at the end of the second volume of Vallarsius's edition of St. Jerome's works.
2 Now St. Honorat, so called from St. Honoratus, the founder of the monastery.The monastery seems at first to have consisted of an aggregation of separate cells, each of which, according to the usage of that time, would be called a "monasterium." "Tota ubique insula, exstructis cellulis, unum velut monasterium evasit."-Cardinal Noris, Histor. Pelag. p. 251. "Monasterium potest unius monachi habitaculum nominari."-Cassian. Collat. xvii. 18.
Among its more prominent members, contemporary with Vincentius, were Honoratus and Hilary, afterwards successively bishops of Arles, and Faustus, afterwards bishop of Riez, all of them in sympathy with the neighbouring clergy of Marseilles, opposed to St. Augustine's later teaching, and holding what was afterwards called Semipelagian doctrine. The adjoining islet of St. Marguérite, one of the Lérins group, has acquired notoriety of late, from having been the place to which Marshal Bazaine,the betrayer of Metz, was banished in 1873.
3 § 79.
4 § 80.
5 § 85.
6 De Illustr. Eccles. Scrip c. 84.
7 xv. p. 146.
8 Cardinal Noris does not hesitate to say of him, "Non modo Semipelagianum se prodit, sed disertis verbis Augustini discipulos tanquam haereticos traducit."-Historia Palagiana, p. 245. See below, Appendix II.
9 See Prosper's letter to Augustine in Augustine's works, Ep. 225, Tom. ii. Ed. Paris, 1836, etc.
10 T. xv. p. 146.
11 The Objectiones Vincentianae must have been published at some time between the publication of St. Augustine's Antipelagian Treatises and the death of Prosper. They are to be found in Prosper's Reply, contained in St. Augustine's works, Appendix, Tom. x. coll. 2535. et seq. Paris, 1836, etc.
12 § 6.
13 §§ 77-88.
14 §§ 9 sqq.
15 §§ 27 sqq.
16 §§ 32 sqq.
17 §§ 36 sqq.
18 Antelmi, Nova de Symbola Athanasiano Disquisitio. See the note on § 42, Appendix I.
20 § 44-46.
21 § 47.
22 § 55.
23 §§ 55-60. For instances in point, he might have referred to the enlargement and expansion of the earlier Creed, first in the Nicene, afterward in the Constantinopolitan Formulary. Thus, in the Definition of the Faith of the Council of Chalcedon, the Fathers are careful to explain that they are making no addition to the original deposit, but amply unfolding and rendering more intelligible what before had been less distinctly set forth: "Teaching in its fulness the doctrine which from the beginning hath remained unshaken, it decrees, in the first place that the Creed of the 318 (the original Nicene Creed) remain untonched; and on account of those who impugn the Holy Spirit, it ratifies and confirms the doctrine subsequently delivered, concerning the essence of the Holy Spirit, by the hundred and fifty holy Fathers, (the Constantinopolitan Creed), which they promulgated for universal acceptance, not as though they were supplying some omission of their predecessors, but testifying in express words in writing their own minds concerning the Holy Spirit."
24 §§ 65 sqq.
1 Commonitory. I have retained the original title in its anglicised form, already familiar to English ears in connection with the name of Vincentius. Its meaning as he uses it is indicated sufficiently, in § 3, "An aid to memory." Technically, it meant a Paper of Instructions given to a person charged with a commission, to assist his memory as to its details.
2 Peregrinus. It does not appear why Vincentius writes under an assumed name. Vossius, with whom Cardinal Noris evidently agrees supposes that his object was to avoid openly avowing himself the author of a work which covertly attacked St. Augustine. Vossius, Histor. Pelag. p. 246. Ego quidem ad Vossii sententiam plane accessissem, nisi tot delatae a sapientissimis Scriptoribus Commonitorio laudes religionem mihi pene injecissent.-Noris, Histor. Pelag. p. 246.
3 Deut. xxxii. 7.
4 Prov. xxii. 17.
5 Prov. iii. 1.
6 Noris, from this word, "villula," a grange or country house concludes that Vincentius, at the time of writing, though a monk was not a monk of Lérins for there could be no "villula" there then, Honoratus having found the island desolate and without inhabitant, when he settled on it but a few years previously, "vacantem insulam ob nimictatem squaloris, et inaccessam venenatorum animalium metu." Histor. Pelag. p. 251. Why, however, may not the "villula" have been built subsequently to Honoratus's settlementaud indeed, as a part of it ? Whether Vincentius was an inmate of the monastery of Lérins at the time of writing the Commonitory or not, he was so eventually, and died there.
7 Ps. xlvi. 10.
8 "Il dit qu'il l'a voulu écrire d'un style facile et commun, sans le vouloir orner et polir; et je voudrois que les ouvrages qu'on a pris le plus de peine à polur dans ce siecle (le 4me) et dans le suivant, ressemblassent à celui-ci." Tillemont, T. xv. p. 144.
9 There were two persons of this name, both intimately connected with the schism,-the earlier one, bishop of Casa Nigra in Numidia the other the successor of Majorinus, whom in the year 311 the party had elected to be bishop of Carthage in opposition to Cecilian, the Catholic bishop, the ground of the opposition being that the principal among Cecilian's consecrators lay under the charge of having delivered up the sacred books to the heathen magistrates in the Dioclesian persecution, and of having thereby rendered his ministerial acts invalid. It was from the last-mentioned probably that the sect was called.The Donatists affected great strictness of life, and ignoring the plain declarations of Scripture, and notably the prophetic representations contained in our Lord's parables of the Tares, the Draw-net, and others, they held that no church could be a true church which endured the presence of evil men in its society. Accordingly they broke off communion with the rest of the African Church and with all who held communion with it, which was in effect the rest of Christendom, denying the validity of their sacraments, rebaptizing those who came over to them from other Christian bodies, and reordaining their clergy.
The sect became so powerful that for some time it formed the stronger party in the church of North Western Africa, its bishops exceeding four hundred in number; but partly checked through the exertions of Augustine in the first years of the fifth century, and of Pope Gregory the Great at the close of the sixth, and partly weakened by divisions among themselves, they dwindled away and become extinct.
10 The rise of Arianism was nearly contemporaneous with that of Donatism. It originated with Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, a man of a subtle wit and a fluent tongue. He began by calling in question the teaching of his bishop, when discoursing on a certain occasion on the subject of the Trinity. For himself he denied our blessed Lord's coeternity and consubstantiality with the Father, which was in effect to deny that He is God in any true sense, though he made no scruple of giving Him the name. His doctrine may be best inferred from the anathema directed against it, appended to the original Nicene Creed: "Those who say, that once the Son of God did not exist, and that before He was begotten He did not exist, or who affirm that He is of a different substance or essence (from that of the Father), or that His nature is mutable or alterable, those the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematises."
Arianism spread with great rapidity, and though condemned by the Council of Nicaea in 325, it gained fresh strength on the death of Constantine and the accession of Constantius, so that for many years thenceforward the history of the Church is occupied with nothing so much as with accounts of its struggle for supremacy. "Arians and Donatists began both about one time, which heresies, according to the different strength of their own sinews, wrought, as the hope of success led them, the one with the choicest wits the other with the multitude, so far, that after long and troublesome experience, the perfectest view that men could take of both was hardly able to induce any certain determinate resolution, whether error may do more by the curious subtlety of sharp discourse, or else by the mere appearance of zeal and devout affection."-Hooker, Eccles. Pol. v. 62. § 8.
11 The Catholic bishops, in number more than four hundred, who at Ariminum, in 349, after having subscribed the Creed of Nicaea were induced, partly by fraud, partly by threats, to repudiate its crucial terms and sign an Arian Formulary. It was in reference to this that St. Jerome wrote, "Ingemuit orbis, et Arium se esse miratus est." "The world groaned and marvelled to find itself Arian." He continues, "The vessel of the apostles was in extreme danger. The storm raged, the waves beat upon the ship, all hope was gone. The Lord awakes, rebukes the tempest, the monster (Constantius) dies, tranquillity is restored. The bishops who had been thrust out from their sees return, through the clemency of the new emperor. Then did Egypt receive Athanasius in triumph, then did the Church of Gaul receive Hilary returning from battle, then did Italy put off her mourning garments at the return of Eusebius (of Vercellae)."-Advers. Luciferianos, § 10.
12 Constantius, the Emperor of the West.
13 Though Vincentius' account of the Arian persecutions refers to those under Arian emperors, Constantius and Valens, the former especially, yet he could not but have had in mind the atrocious cruelties which were being perpetrated, at the time when he was writing, by the Arian Vandals in Africa. Possidius, in his life of St Augustine, who lay on his death-bed in Hippo while the fierce Vandal host was encamped round the city (c. xxviii.), gives a detailed account of them belonging to a date some four years earlier, entirely of a piece with Vincentius' description in the text. Victor, bishop of Vite, himself a sufferer, has left a still ampler relation, De Persecutione Vandalorum.
14 St. Ambrose. De Fide, l. 2, c. 15, § 141. See also St. Jerome adv. Luciferianos, § 19.
15 Ibid. l. 3, § 128 St. Ambrose speaks of the Gothic war as a judgment upon Valens, both for his Arianism and for his persecution of the Catholics. He had permitted the Goths to cross the Danube, and settle in Thrace and the adjoining parts, with the understanding that they should embrace Christianity in its Arian form They had now turned against him, and Gratian was on the eve of setting out to carry aid to him. St. Ambrose's book, De Fide, was written to confirm Gratian in the Catholic faith, in view especially of the Arian influence to which he might be subjected in his intercourse with Valens Valens was killed the following year, 378, at the battle of Adrianople.
16 Rev. v. 1-5.